BITTER DEBATE IN HOUSE
Goebel Murder the Subject of Intensely Partisan Encounter
(New York Times, February 4, 1904)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 -- This was the most exciting day the House
has had this session. The Democrats charged the Republicans with
making murder a political crime, sheltering a fugitive from
justice, and reversing the intent of the Constitution with regard
to extradition laws in the interest of a Republican assassin. The
day was an anniversary of the murder of Gov. Goebel of Kentucky.
Excitement rose high, and the House was crowded throughout the
debate, which lasted almost all the afternoon. The Diplomatic
Appropriation bill was under consideration at the time.
Mr. James (Dem., Ky.,) started the discussion, which was over the
refusal of Gov. Durbin of Indiana to surrender ex-Gov. W. S.
Taylor of Kentucky, charged with complicity in the murder of his
rival, Gov. William Goebel. Mr. James introduced a bill to
authorize extradition proceedings in Federal courts when the
Governor of one State refuses to honor extradition papers from
The Democrats were beside themselves with delight over his
arraignment of the Republicans, particularly when he denounced
President Roosevelt as "the distinguished rough rider, who, as
Governor of New York, violated all precedents by saying to
Taylor, 'Come to New York and you shall be immune.'"
The President's referenda(?) in favor of extradition treaties in
his message was ridiculed by Mr. James in view of the failure of
the Governor of Indiana to extradite Taylor.
Mr. Crumpacker (Rep., Ind.,) defended Gov. Durbin. His argument
was to the effect that it would be impossible for Taylor to have
a fair trial in Kentucky, and he pointed to the case of Secretary
of State Caleb Powers, convicted of Goebel's murder, as proof.
"Isn't it a fact," asked Mr. James, "that the Governor of Indiana
refused to surrender Taylor before Powers was ever tried, and
before he could have known whether Powers would have a fair trial
Mr. Crumpacker said it was.
"Didn't Taylor show the same remarkable foresight," asked Mr.
James, "when he granted a free pardon to Powers before Powers was
"Possibly, possibly," said Mr. Crumpacker, amid Democratic
Mr. Crumpacker's attack on the State of Kentucky aroused John
Sharp Williams, (Dem., Miss.,) who made a speech which aroused
the Democratic side to a pitch of the wildest enthusiasm and
excitement. He declared Crumpacker's speech to be "a disgrace to
"Edmund Burke did not know how to draw an indictment of a whole
people," said Mr. Williams, "but the gentleman from Indiana can
teach him how to do it, and to do it by innuendoes and hints
gathered from newspaper reports."
Indiana and Kentucky were separated by a river, he said, and Mr.
Crumpacker's argument was that on the left-hand side of that
river all was corruption and vileness, and on the right-hand side
all was political purity.
"Kentucky," he concluded, "will continue to go Democratic until
the Republicans of that State cease to march under the banner of
Mr. Payne (Rep., N.Y.,) defended President Roosevelt's
extradition treaty recommendations. The general indictment of the
President and the Republican Party, he said, was not well
founded, neither was the criticism of Gov. Odell of New York,
made by Mr. James (Ky.,) for his refusal to extradite Ziegler on
demand of Missouri.
Mr. Adams (Penn.) in beginning his annual speech in favor of the
reorganization of the Consular Service said he was performing a
very good office by interposing a buffer between Indiana and
Kentucky. He presented a bill for the reorganization of the
Consular Service, which, he said, was indorsed by the business
interests of the country.
The discussion was brought back to the Goebel murder. Mr.
Hemenway (Rep., Ind.,) made a speech urging the Democrats of
Kentucky to cool off and not be so excited about the murder of
Goebel. This provoked Mr. Stanley (Dem., Ky.,) to deliver a
speech in which he declared that he had not believed partisanship
could go so far.
"To make murder a political question," he said, "is amazing to
me. If when Lincoln was shot some disciple of this new
philosophic school, which makes assassination a subject for
debate, had addressed the mourning people of this country,
telling them to keep cool, not to get excited, and to remember
that Booth's deed was a political crime, I would not have been
"Didn't Goebel kill a man?" asked Mr. Hepburn, (Rep., Iowa.)
"Goebel shot Sanford in self-defense," retorted Mr. Stanley. "He
shot Sanford through the brain. When Goebel was picked up there
was a bullet through his own body. Only two shots were fired.
Will the gentleman from Iowa tell me how a man with a bullet in
his brain could shoot Goebel through the body? Which fired